Fayyad denies statements in N.Y. Times unflattering to Abbas

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Outgoing Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is denying statements attributed to him by a New York Times columnist that are unflattering to P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas.

“The statements in the article are just journalist Roger Cohen’s personal impressions, and certainly not the words of Fayyad, who did not make any statements or conduct interviews for the New York Times or any other newspaper or agency since his resignation,” Fayyad’s office said in a statement published Saturday by the Palestinian WAFA news agency.

Fayyad turned in his resignation on April 13; he has remained in the job in a caretaker role.

Cohen’s Op-Ed titled “Fayyad Steps Down, Not Out,” published on May 3, quoted Fayyad as saying that the Palestinians’ “story is a story of failed leadership, from way early on.”

Cohen also quoted Fayyad as saying: “This party, Fatah, is going to break down, there is so much disenchantment.” Also, “It is incredible that the fate of the Palestinian people has been in the hands of leaders so entirely casual, so guided by spur-of-the-moment decisions, without seriousness. We don’t strategize, we cut deals in a tactical way and we hold ourselves hostage to our own rhetoric.”

WAFA reported that the Cohen Op-Ed has “caused an uproar among Palestinians.”

Cohen told the Times of Israel in an email that he had interviewed Fayyad and would not comment further.

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